Hubert de Givenchy auction beats estimates and sets new records – WWD

PARIS – Live sales from the estate of Hubert de Givenchy fetched more than 114 million euros, more than double the collection’s low pre-sale estimate, making it the second most valuable collection ever sold at French auctions, said Christie’s in Paris.

The result cemented the auction house’s reputation as a powerhouse for sales of sole proprietor collections, having handled eight of the 10 most important collections in history, including the historic sale of the collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé in 2009.

Composed mainly of works of art, sculptures and 18th century furniture, Givenchy’s collection reflected the discerning eye of the designer known as the ambassador of French taste, nicknamed in interior design circles “the French taste. Collecting was a way of life for the great designer with aristocratic roots and his associate Philippe Venet.

Christie’s touted it as a “watershed moment” for the 18th-century furniture market, noting that of the 10 best-selling works, half were 18th-century furniture and decorative arts and the other half were works by ‘modern Art. “Such high and exceptional prices for 18th century furniture have not been achieved since the 1990s,” the house said in a statement.

The four live auctions took place from June 14 to 17 at the Théâtre Marigny and at the Christie’s auction house in Paris. Two online sales of smaller items, such as tableware, will take place on June 22 and June 23, respectively. A total of 1,229 lots went under the hammer.

Designer Hubert de Givenchy
Reginald Gray/Fairchild Archive

Interest was stoked by a traveling preview that began in Palm Beach and traveled three continents, culminating in a sprawling preview at Christie’s headquarters on Avenue Matignon in Paris, which recreated several bedrooms of residences of Givenchy in Paris and in the Loire Valley. A total of 10,000 visitors visited the World Expos.

“It is not surprising that the impeccable provenance and superior quality of the treasures of the Hubert de Givenchy collection have attracted such interest from buyers around the world,” said Cécile Verdier, President of Christie’s France.

With a cumulative total of 114.4 million euros, or 119.7 million dollars, the auction set 19 new world records. Five lots were sold for more than 5 million euros, including the painting “Passage of the migratory bird” by Joan Miró, which hung in the designer’s bedroom and had never been presented at auction before.

“Woman Walking”, a cast of a statue by Alberto Giacometti, went for 27.2 million euros, setting the record for the most expensive work sold at auction in France since the beginning of the year.

Charles Cator, vice-president of Christie’s International, worked with de Givenchy on the first sale of objects from his collection at Christie’s in 1993, and several subsequent projects until the designer’s death in 2018.

“It was particularly exciting to see the extraordinary results – at all price points – obtained for these magnificent pieces of furniture so much appreciated by Hubert de Givenchy”, he said.


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